Bret McKenzie of Flight of the Conchords will write the script and music for a new adaptation of Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas, based on the Jim Henson Company's TV special of the same name which originally aired on television in 1977.
Bret McKenzie will also have the option to direct this family movie, though he has not officially signed on to helm it just yet. No distributor is yet on board, and where the project will be seen depends on who picks it up when it's shopped around to potential buyers. It will serve as a co-production between the Jim Henson Company, Pacific Electric Picture Company, and Snoot Entertainment.
It's certainly worth noting McKenzie has previous experience working on Jim Henson projects. He served as the music supervisor for the 2011 movie The Muppets and its 2014 sequel Muppets Most Wanted, with the former nabbing an Academy Award for Best Original Song with "Man or Muppet." Mixing all of this experience with his own musical abilities and creative talent, it's only natural for McKenzie to play such a prominent role in bringing to life a new version of Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas. Additionally, McKenzie is also developing a musical project for Disney called Bob the Musical!.
McKenzie is of course best known as one half of the New Zealand comedy duo Flight of the Conchords along with Jemaine Clement, with the pair headlining an HBO series of the same name from 2007 to 2009. Their live performances have earned them a large cult following worldwide, and McKenzie's involvement in this new project for the Jim Henson Company will immediately bring about a lot of interest from big fans of the entertainer. As for Clement, Flight of the Conchords fans can also see him co-starring with Taika Waitita in the FX series What We Do in the Shadows, which will premiere its second season on the network in 2020.
The original Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas TV special was based on the book of the same name by author Russell Hoban. As it was directed by the legendary Jim Henson himself, the program featured a cast of Muppet characters. The project even originally featured Kermit the Frog as the host of the special, although subsequent releases have removed his inclusion due to the rights to the Muppets characters going to Disney in 2004. For those who've never seen the classic holiday special, it follows a poor family of otters whose hopes for a merry Christmas rely on winning a local talent contest by creating a jug band from scratch. The heartwarming family movie has since been watched every holiday season by many families across the world.
With McKenzie involved, this new version of Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas seems to be in good hands. The original will always be a classic in its own right, but it will be nice for a new generation to see a modern take on the holiday story. This news comes to us from Variety.